Today, a sharply divided Federal Communications Commission voted in favor of a Memorandum Opinion and Order concluding that Comcast's limited management of its broadband network to avoid congestion that harms consumers was not acceptable to the Commission.
Sena Fitzmaurice, Senior Director, Corporate Communications and Government Affairs issued the following statement:
"We are gratified that the Commission did not find any conduct by Comcast that justified a fine and that the deadline established in the order is the same self-imposed deadline that we announced four months ago. On the other hand, we are disappointed in the Commission's divided conclusion because we believe that our network management choices were reasonable, wholly consistent with industry practices and that we did not block access to Web sites or online applications, including peer-to-peer services. We also believe that the Commission's order raises significant due process concerns and a variety of substantive legal questions. We are considering all our legal options and are disappointed that the commission rejected our attempts to settle this issue without further delays."
Comcast takes carefully limited broadband network management measures to ensure a high-quality Internet experience for all Comcast High-Speed Internet customers. These measures currently include the very limited management of peer-to-peer (P2P) protocols in the upstream direction to address congestion issues (P2P downloads are not subject to Comcast's current network management). The overwhelming majority of the estimated 9 billion TCP P2P flows that cross Comcast's network in a typical day are unaffected by Comcast's network management. About 6 to 7% of Comcast's High-Speed Internet subscribers use P2P on a weekly basis.
In March, Comcast announced it would migrate all of its systems to a protocol-agnostic network management technique by year-end. Comcast is already trialing these techniques in five markets. Information on these trials and on Comcast's network management practices can be found at: www.comcast.net/networkmanagement. Comcast has announced joint efforts with BitTorrent, Inc., Pando Networks, and Vonage to address issues related to network management and is participating in the P2P Best Practices Initiative organized by the Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA).
Comcast has always disclosed that it manages its broadband network so that all consumers have a positive experience.
Recently Comcast doubled and in many cases tripled the upload speeds for almost all of existing customers at no additional charge. So far in 2008, Comcast has gained 770,000 new High-Speed Internet customers, with about 2/3 of those switching from a broadband DSL competitor. Comcast's High-Speed Internet service is available to 99% of the over 50 million homes passed by the company.